Did you see the article in the New York Times, Ear Plugs to Lasers: The Science of Concentration? In the book, Rapt, author Winifred Gallagher, reminds us of two well known concepts:
- What we pay attention to determines what kind of experience we create.
- Our brains work best when we concentrate and focus on one thing at time… multi-tasking is not good for us.
Gallagher goes on to make the point that we have the choice to focus our attention on the negative things or the positive things. Not surprisingly, she points out that shifting your attention to and focusing on the positive things in life are the secrets to creating a more satisfying life.
I’m not going to disagree with that, but I do think it’s a black or white approach… especially for high level leaders who get paid to solve problems and achieve results in a technicolor world.
Here’s two more things to think about.
First, events are rarely all positive or all negative. They are usually a bitter sweet mixture of both. Wisdom comes from being able to see and appreciate both the good and the bad. Remember the old saw… Learning from your mistakes?
Secondly, your unconscious mindsets have an enormous impact on how you see the world and what captures your attention. Shifting your conscious attention without first uncovering your underlying unconscious mindsets is a little like whacking off dandelion leaves. It’s just a matter of time before your unconscious mindset sends up another flower of frustration. Just look at Kristie Alley’s failed weight loss…
Here’s my advice:
1. Focus your attention on the whole experience. Step outside of your judgment of good or bad. Look at things from both sides at once. Find the wisdom in the experience. The great thing about wisdom is that you can take it with you whereever you go.
2. Cultivate your consciousness. Dig out your unconscious mindsets so you get rid of the weeds once and for all. That leaves plenty of room and nutrients for creativity. And with creativity comes inspired problem solving and new perspectives.